Slightly obscure nutrition question

My favourite sports nutrition textbook provides extensive details about factors affecting the absorption of various minerals. One of the most significant of these, for me, is that iron absorption is decreased by tea (including some herbal teas) and coffee. And the one question not answered by the authors is whether or not this applies to decaffeinated tea and coffee to the same extent.

I know there are several people here who have studies sports nutrition. Do any of you know the answer to this? I'm prepared to give up caffeine (but not coffee!) if it would make a difference.


  • Hi there,
    Im a Dietitian with a particular interest in sports and its the caffeine and tannic acid in tea and coffee that affects iron absorption - it is best to avoid having drinks with caffeine in them at least one hour prior and after having a meal (in particular a main meal with iron containing foods in it e.g. red meat).

    But you can still enjoy your cup of coffee/tea - just have it in between meals :)

    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the link, Bear :o)

    Brenda, thanks for that practical advice. I'll mostly be able to avoid caffeinated drinks with meals - but I do like a cup (well, a pot) of coffee after dinner, and wonder whether decaf would result in less iron from the meal being wasted.

    I know that the ideal counsel is "drink orange juice instead"!
  • And if I can get hold of some of that ferrochel stuff I can wash it down with an Americano ... I like THAT idea even better :o)
  • for some reason the question has relevance to me as well ;o)

    one link I found even said that herbal teas could have the same effect
  • Think if for every cup of coffee you drink, you have a can of Guinness as well you'll be fine (though you may have to get up half an hour earlier)
  • Yes, my book said some herbal teas can interfere with iron absorption, but not which ones. Not that it matters to me cos I think they all smell like silage anyway :oS~

    Since some fruit teas are acidic enough to dissolve teeth, I wonder whether they'd help iron absorption?

    Chimp, I rather like that suggestion :o)
  • It does, doesn't it :o(

    So coffee even cancels out the medicinal effects of the chocolate biscuits that I dunk in it.
  • Then again, If you have a huge amount of iron-containing foods, it wont matter so much if the iron absorption is decreased by your coffee...!
  • I'm led to believe that Irn Bru contains both caffeine and iron.
  • Well, that's annoying to hear about herbal teas!
    I wonder which ones though?
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